Okay, you guys, I have to share something that’s been on my mind and weighing on my heart lately.  As you know if you’ve been following Tom and I on our journey to build a life we love, one key piece of the equation for us was getting out of debt and building savings.  We are building financial freedom, one baby step at a time.  I am finding it hard to come up with the words to describe to you how much peace that brings to our lives, and how with that peace comes this amazing sense of contentment and happiness.  We are finally out of the fog of survival mode and have switched the flip into thriving.  And we are able to DREAM again!  The future feels wide open for us now… but a few years ago we couldn’t see beyond the present moment and how we were going to get through it. As I read the papers and hear the news, I realize that so many people are still stuck in that fog of overwhelming debt, living paycheck-to-paycheck and just trying to survive.  The statistics are frightening, you guys, and it seems to be getting worse instead of better.  Check out these scary financial statistics of the typical American:

  • 78% of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck (this is an 8% increase since 2008)  This means that if just ONE paycheck doesn’t come in, 78% of Americans can’t pay their bills and will struggle to put food on the table for their families. We just got to experience this first-hand and it was an incredible “A-ha”, tipping-point experience for us.  As many of you know, Tom is a Federal employee and we recently went through the government shutdown.  He is considered “essential” and still had to work, but didn’t get paid for 35 days.  We missed two pay periods.  TWO.  Three years ago that would have been devastating for us… this year, we were able to rely on tapping into the savings we had in our emergency fund to help us get by.  Without the savings in the bank, we would have been using credit cards or borrowing money from family in order to survive.  This was the first time in our married life we can say this you guys!  It turned the government shutdown from a crisis for us into an annoyance.  When the paychecks finally came in, the money spent went right back into savings.  We were actually able to save MORE money during that time due to the meal planning and prepping we had done previously (click here to learn more) and cutting out any unnecessary expenses.  But I saw the news and know this was not the story for so many other Federal employees, and my heart hurts for the added stress they had to endure.
  • The average student loan debt in America is approximately $50,000  Good grief!  How are our kids supposed to start their lives with a boat anchor like that tied around their necks???  That’s a freaking hefty price tag for an education that may or may not ensure you get a great job with a big paycheck coming out.  We HAVE to start thinking outside the box here!  A college education does not guarantee success. Debt of this magnitude at such an early age
    (at any age!!!) is stifling and these financial statistics are alarming.  
  • The average car loan in America is approximately $30,000, with typical 6-7 year terms  (Not to mention, of those loans, 7 MILLION of them are 90 days past due)  Yowza – these are small house payments people!  For a long time we totally bought the Kool-aid that you will always have a car loan.  We never thought it was possible to save the money to buy a car with cash (we never seemed to have enough money to save for ANYTHING!).  But here’s the deal… once we broke free of our “keeping up with the Joneses” mentality, scaled our housing expenses WAY back, and quit blowing our money in restaurants and on retail therapy, there was suddenly extra cash that we could sock away for savings!  Today I drive a 7 year old Kia Sorento that is paid for, and we have a second old beater car that Tom and our son Ryan share.  It’s a 2004 Ford Taurus with over 250,000 miles on it.  He ain’t sexy but he runs and gets them from Point A to Point B.  And when he goes to the great car junk pile in the sky, we will buy another used car with cash to replace him.  Here’s a little secret – your identity is not found in four wheels!
  • 69% of Americans struggle to pay for a $1000 emergency – and of those, 40% would struggle to pay for a $500 emergency   Holy crap!  Is this scary or what?  Think about it for a minute… stand on your front porch and look around at your neighbors.  That stat means SEVEN of TEN of them couldn’t pay for a $1,000 car or house repair without relying on debt.  Say wha???  These financial statistics are staggering, but would you ever know it?  Nope.  If you look at their life on social media, everything is wonderful in their perfect house with their perfect car and their perfect vacations.  Another reminder that we need to stop comparing our lives to the highlight reel of others on social media.  As Dave Ramsey says, “stop trying to keep up with the Joneses – the Joneses are broke.”
  • 7 of 10 couples are not budgeting consistently   In a nutshell, most Americans are “not telling their money where to go, then later wondering where it went.”  They are ending up with a lot of “month at the end of the money,” which leads to money fights and incredible stress in the home (yes, more Dave Ramsey-isms…I’m full of em!).  Learning to budget is a foundational skillset that you need to implement in order to win with money.  

Beat the Scary Financial Statistics

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Learn to create a monthly budget and tell your money where to go!

Can you see why these numbers get me fired up???  Not long ago we were one of these scary financial statistics.  We were like most average Americans and just plodding along, trying to work harder and harder to out-earn our financial mess.  We were stressed and we were exhausted and we weren’t thriving in our lives. 

Julie talks about Financial Freedom through Simple Living

It took a major paradigm shift and change of mindset to be able to devise a plan to work our way out of our hole.  We are very methodically and systematically baby-stepping our way toward Financial Freedom.  We have found so much peace and happiness and we passionately want to help others find it too!  There IS a way out.  There IS a better way.  Are you ready to do what it takes to get there?  Let us help!  Click here to join us and start your journey to Financial Freedom!